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A Cautionary Tale

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/hasniza-ismail-jailed-family-torture-woman-14086102

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/3-years-jail-woman-who-joined-family-horrific-abuse-low-iq-friend-chained-her-wall


It took a while for me to find an appropriate title to this post.


I hesitate to join in the chorus of condemnation against the abusers of the intellectually disabled lady. Even though her name is now in the public domain, let's call her NS .


The hesitation stems from these reasons. The damning words that come to mind have already been used. Every time these words are repeated I wonder if it has the unintended effect of impeding the reform of the abusers. The condemn & shame response, if this is the dominant response, takes attention away from the need to understand and to prevent repeat occurrence.


The social scientists will no doubt adopt the case of NS for study and research.


Our law enforcement and other national policy-makers will be wise to pay a whole lot of attention to this. I shudder to think that this is not an outlier type case.


As a casual reader the NS case serves as sombre reminder to me. Let this be our cautionary tale.


- Being watchful of abusive behavior (ours and of others). Violence begets violence. Let not your fury get the better of you.


- Guard against the temptation to find a justification to inflict violence against another. A typical justification is that there had been prior transgression against you. Such is likely to be a false justification.


- One member of this now notorious family put it - "(NS) is a girl who was easy to eat" (makan). It is almost always the case that the intellectually disabled is susceptible to abuse. Stand steadfast on the side of the abused vulnerable as their guardian and protector.



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